This morning, I asked my toddler, “Do you want to eat blueberries and yogurt breakfast?” to which he promptly responded with a bellowing cry about wanting to sit at his little table instead. Yet despite this unexpected outburst so typical of a two-year-old, the toddler stage is becoming my favorite age for kids.
His growing independence could be part of the reason. When he can play independently by himself, climb into his own chair and now, even help with dishes, taking care of him has gotten so much easier. He also sleeps much better, and considering that me and sleep-deprivation don’t go well together, I’m able to function with longer hours that he now lets me have. And more importantly, my own growth as a mother has helped me appreciate and enjoy this time more than the newborn and infant years.
Other moms may feel differently. I talked to one mother whose favorite age is the newborn and infant days. Sleep deprivation and baby worries were much preferred to the tantrums and defiance that her son was now exhibiting. Still, other parents could easily prefer even the older ages such as the school years.
I can’t say toddlerhood is without its struggles though, however small or grand they may be. You have the typical tantrum frustration of course, but even the little defiance here and there drives me nuts. He’s more opinionated (like when he can only take a bath with his blue Lego), and more stubborn (it’s so much easier to go home from the park when your child is just five months old).
Every age has its own struggles, and just as you think the ones you currently have are done, new ones emerge as they grow older. We were at the park the other week when I overheard a girl about seven years old scolding her friend for crying: “I’m not going to be your friend if you keep crying,” she threatened the other girl. I immediately thought, “Kids are so mean!” I can’t even imagine the social struggles that older kids and their parents go through, with stories of former friends no longer their BFFs or kids feeling left out of a group.
That said, I look at the positive side and imagine the fun things we can do once he’s older: we’ll be able to attend grander events like musicals and baseball games without lugging a huge diaper bag or worrying about cutting into nap times. We’ll probably do a ton more crafts and school-type of activities. And who knows, maybe we’ll even squeeze in a swim or two.
Do you have a favorite age for your kids? What has been the easiest stage? The most difficult?
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